The release of Christopher Nolan’s espionage thriller Tenet marks the first major film release since cinemas closed in March.
While other films have already dipped their toes in the water, including Russell Crowe’s road-rage drama Unhinged, which launched exclusively in cinemas and drive-ins to an opening weekend box office of £175,000, this marks the first big blockbuster to debut post-lockdown.
Cinemas, including Cineworld, Vue and Odeon, have already introduced a raft of measures in a bid to keep people safe and make them feel comfortable returning to dark, enclosed spaces, including socially distanced seating plans and enhanced cleaning, as well as changes to schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in lobbies.
But the release of Nolan’s latest project has not been without complications, with its launch date pushed back several times.
However, the British director is a devotee of the big screen experience – Tenet is shot on 65mm and large-format Imax cameras – and he has described cinemas as “a vital part of social life, providing jobs for many and entertainment for all”.
While other films intended for a big screen debut have instead moved to premium video on demand, such as Trolls: World Tour, the filmed version of Broadway musical Hamilton and Artemis Fowl, Tenet has held firm on its path to the multiplex.
In the run-up to the launch of his latest offering, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, some of Nolan’s other films have also been re-released in cinemas, including The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk and Interstellar.
It will launch in the UK ahead of its planned release in the US, where the majority of cinemas are still closed.
At the moment it is scheduled for release to coincide with the US’s Labour Day weekend at the beginning of September.
Details of the plot remain a mystery but it is known that the film deals with time and the different ways in which time can function.
It also stars Sir Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Himesh Patel and Nolan’s most frequent collaborator, Sir Michael Caine, who has featured in all of his films.
Tenet is released in UK cinemas on August 26.